Who's Who

Professional Musicians

The Burford Singers enjoys a wealth of supporting musical talents. We are especially lucky to be led by two outstanding leaders in British choral music: Brian Kay, our present Conductor and Director of Music, and the distinguished composer and conductor, Bob Chilcott, who became our President in succession to his late father-in-law, Sir Philip Ledger.  

We are also very fortunate to have the ongoing support of our Chorus Master, Hilary Tadman-Robins, and the outstanding expertise of accompanist, Robin Baggs. 

For the majority of our concerts we are accompanied by our own orchestra, the Cotswold Chamber Orchestra, formed at the suggestion of our previous conductor Brian Etheridge, and which has performed regularly with us since 1989.

Conductor - Brian Kay

His television appearances have included the competitions to find the Cardiff Singer of the World and the Choir of the Year, and the New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna. He has twice won a Sony Award as Music Presenter of the Year, including the coveted Gold Award in 1996.

Brian was also conductor of Vaughan Williams’s Leith Hill Musical Festival  for 21 years and is currently the Principal Conductor of The Really Big Chorus, with which he regularly conducts massed voices in venues ranging from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the exotic surroundings of Beijing – and all stations in between.

In addition he is Vice-President of the Association of British Choral Directors and the Royal School of Church Music.

Image credit: Chris Christodoulou

Chorus Master - Hilary Tadman-Robins

Hilary has extensive experience as a musical director, especially with young people: she was founder director of the Cotswold Children’s Choir in 1997, and worked with the CCC on many exciting projects, including a full-scale production of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in Burford Parish Church for the millennium, and a CD of music by Bob Chilcott, with accompaniment by Sir Philip Ledger.

She has lectured at Westminster College, Reading University and the Royal Northern College of Music, and was musical director of The Burford Benefice of Churches from 1999 – 2007. She has published choral music for both youth and church choirs with OUP and Encore Publications and leads a busy professional life as an organist, pianist, teacher, composer and conductor.

In 2016 she composed Sound the Trumpet, a celebratory piece for The Burford Singers, which we premiered at our summer concert to great acclaim.

Leader, Cotswold Chamber Orchestra - Kate Bailey

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Kate Bailey began her violin studies with Pamela Spofforth at the age of nine, and was an early member of Pro Corda, where she gained a love of chamber music. She read Music at University College, Oxford, and then went on to study with Erika Klemperer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Kate lives in Oxford and regularly leads a number of orchestras in the area. She has played in the string quartet OXUS for the last ten years, specializing in approachable contemporary works such as Steve Reich’s “Different Trains” and Elvis Costello’s “The Juliet Letters”. She is also a founder member of The Holywell Ensemble, a flexible chamber group renowned for its committed and evocative performances of British chamber music described by the BBC Music Magazine as “one of the most important chamber music groups on the British musical scene.”

She has also recently performed a number of concertos, including Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with her colleagues from The Holywell Ensemble, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with viola player Heather Birt. 

President - Bob Chilcott

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As a composer, conductor, and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers.  He became a full-time composer in 1997, and has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs which is published by Oxford University Press.  

Bob has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of Singing Days. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of The Royal College of Music in London and since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers. In 2017 Bob was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Royal School of Church Music and in 2019 took up the role of Principal Conductor Birmingham University Singers.

He is no stranger to the Burford Singers, having spent the spring of 2015 preparing us for a performance of his Requiem, conducted us in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in spring 2019 and facilitated ‘Come and Sing’ workshops.

Accompanist - Robin Baggs

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Robin Baggs read music at Trinity College, Cambridge, completing postgraduate studies in performance, palaeography and criticism. He has worked extensively as a writer and critic for The Musical Times and other musical journals, specialising in Czech music and the organ repertoire.

As an organist, concert tours have taken him to twelve European countries, and he recently completed his tenth Austrian tour. He has worked with orchestras such as the London Mozart Players and the English Chamber Orchestra and he currently accompanies a number of choirs and choral societies in the Gloucestershire and Bristol areas.

After thirty-five years as Organist and then Director of Music at Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire, Robin now divides his time between recital work, private teaching and accompanying.